Not sure which cordless vacuum to buy? With 100s of models from a variety of brands, it's easy to get overwhelmed. To help you make the right choice, here are five of the best cordless vacuum cleaners in the UK (updated for 2018).
Are you tired of tripping over your vacuum's cord? Or do you find traditional vacuums to be heavy and difficult to use?
If so, a high-quality cordless vacuum cleaner could be the perfect solution.
The best cordless vacs are lightweight, versatile and more convenient than a traditional upright or cylinder. Many have handheld or portable modes, so they are great for cleaning stairs and cars.
They are also becoming increasingly powerful. In fact, the top models can rival the average upright vacuum for cleaning performance, which wasn't true just 3-4 years ago.
It's not all good news though. The popularity of wireless vacuums has led to a surge in available models. While more choice isn't a bad thing, it can be difficult to know which cordless vacuum to buy.
There are also many poor-quality models with weak suction and short battery run-times. The worst cordless vacs struggle to pick up dust and dirt - and you can forget about using them for pet hair.
With that in mind, the goal of this article is to help you find the best cordless vacuum cleaner for your budget and requirements. The five models below all provide excellent suction and reasonable run-times, so they are great for cleaning a wide range of surfaces.
Top 5 Rechargeable Vacuums + Mini Reviews
Before we get to the recommendations and cordless vacuum reviews, it's important to remember that the best model depends on what you need to clean.
If your house has thick-pile carpets, for example, you'll need a cordless vacuum with a strong brush bar to dig into carpets. If your house is mainly hard floors, it's more important for the vacuum to have powerful suction to lift the dirt without pushing it around.
Each of the models on this list provides outstanding performance and has received high ratings, but make sure you read and compare each review. Some models are great all-rounders, while others excel at specific tasks such as cleaning carpets, hard floors or stairs.
|Rank||Image||Model Name||Handheld Mode?||Run-Time||Price Range||Best For...|
|#1||Dyson V8 Absolute|
|Yes||40 minutes||££££||Outstanding all-round performance on carpets, stairs, hard floors and above ground|
|#2||Bosch Athlet Ultimate BCH732KTGB|
|Sling Mode||75 minutes||££££||Brilliant raw cleaning power but loud and awkward when in portable mode|
|#3||Gtech AirRam Mk2|
|No||40 minutes||££||Great for cleaning hard floors and decent on carpets, but no handheld mode|
|#4||Dyson V6 Cord-Free|
|Yes||20 minutes||££||Powerful cleaning performance on carpets and hard floors for a great price - but only 20 minute run-time|
|#5||Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1|
|Yes||45 minutes||£££||Great on carpets and long battery life, but struggles on hard floors|
Best All-Round Cordless Vacuum
Dyson V8 Absolute
If you're looking for the "absolute" best cordless vacuum and don't mind the high price, the Dyson V8 Absolute is Expert Vacuum's top recommendation. It provides excellent cleaning performance on both carpets and hard floors, while the handheld mode is great for above-floor cleaning. The V8 Absolute can even handle pet hair.
The V8 is Dyson's flagship cordless vacuum cleaner range. While the Absolute isn't the most expensive in the series - that honour goes to the V8 Total Clean - we think it's the best choice for most people.
At its core, the V8 Absolute is a cordless stick vacuum with a maximum run-time of 40 minutes. It's powered by Dyson's V8 motor, which is claimed to be the most powerful of any cordless when on "MAX" mode. Like all Dyson cordless vacs, it has a detachable handheld mode for above-floor cleaning.
How does it perform though?
As you would expect from a premium battery operated vacuum, the Dyson V8 Absolute provides excellent cleaning performance. It can handle almost any household cleaning chore, including pet hair, cereal or dust. The handheld mode also makes it easy to clean stairs.
What's the difference between the Absolute and Total Clean? Both are the same core vacuum, but the Total Clean comes with extra accessories such as a Flexi Crevice Tool and tool bag. The Absolute and Total Clean both include the direct-drive and soft roller cleaner heads though, so we think the Absolute provides the best value.
While strong suction is important, the V8's floor heads are key to its effectiveness. The standard motorhead has a strong brush bar for digging deeper into carpets than most cordless vacs. There's also Dyson's popular soft roller head for gently cleaning debris from hard floors.
Aside from a more powerful motor, Dyson has fixed one of the main complaints of the V6: the messy emptying system. Instead of relying on gravity, the V8 has an internal collar that pushes dust, dirt and fluff out of the canister. While dust can still escape, this system means you usually don't need to pull out trapped debris by hand.
One thing to note is that the Dyson V8 uses a trigger system to increase effective battery life. You need to hold down the trigger while cleaning, which may get tiring - especially for people with arthritis. There is no option to "lock" the trigger in the on position.
Despite being an excellent cordless vacuum, the V8 Absolute isn't perfect. It's one of the most expensive models on the market - and many people simply won't be able to justify spending £350+ on a vacuum cleaner. It also has a relatively small dust canister, although this is common for cordless vacuums.
Another issue is the high-power mode reduces the run-time to around seven minutes. This is to be expected, but there are other cordless models that last longer on full power. While you probably won't use the "MAX" mode on hard floors, you'll need to activate it for properly cleaning thick carpets. This might mean you can't clean your whole house in one session.
Even so, if you want to replace your primary vacuum with a cordless model, the Dyson V8 Absolute is the best option. It's not cheap, but the outstanding cleaning performance and suction power justify the price.
Bosch Athlet Ultimate BCH732KTGB
The Bosch Athlet range has traditionally been second best to Dyson - but that's all changed with the Ultimate BCH732KTGB. While it still comes behind the V8 on this list and costs a similar amount, it's a great choice if you need a longer run-time. It also excels on almost every surface, including hard wood, carpets and stairs.
When it comes to raw cleaning performance from a cordless vacuum, it's hard to beat the Ultimate BCH732KTGB. This is a powerful vacuum cleaner with a (relatively) large 0.9 litre capacity and 32.4V lithium-ion battery. There's also a portable mode and an effective filter.
Most importantly, it does a great job of cleaning hard wood, laminate, carpets, stairs and even pet hair.
There aren't many cordless models that make such quick work of dust, fluff and hair. This is partly due to the improved motor compared to previous Athlet vacs, but also because it includes Bosch's HighPower AllFloor brush. This is suitable for cleaning both carpets and hard floors, so you don't need to switch when moving between the two.
To put it another way, if you're looking for a corded replacement, the Ultimate BCH732KTGB is one of the most powerful on the market.
The Bosch comes with several accessories. These include a long hose, which is a useful addition for above-floor cleaning, and a crevice tool. The tools are a little awkward to fit the first few times, but you soon get used to the process.
It also has a great battery life - at least when cleaning hard floors. It can last up to 75 minutes when in this mode, which is plenty of time to clean a house. The run-time drops considerably when in high-powered mode though.
While the 0.9 litre capacity is small compared to upright or cylinder vacs, it's fairly large for a cordless. This means you won't need to empty it as often - although you'll probably want to get rid of dust and dirt after each cleaning session.
There are some drawbacks to the Ultimate BCH732KTGB though. At 3.7kg, it's heavier than most cordless vacuums. This is a necessary compromise for the larger dust capacity, but is worth keeping in mind.
The portable mode is far less convenient than the Dyson V8 and similar cordless vacs. It's not even really handheld, as you'll need to use a harness and both hands to clean with the provided tools. It partly makes up for this in raw cleaning power, which makes it possible to get rid of dust and dirt in high spaces or car interiors. Switching to portable mode is a hassle, however, and it's awkward to carry.
It's also loud. The Dyson V8 isn't quiet, but the Bosch sounds considerably louder - especially as many vacuum brands have made an effort to reduce noise output in recent years. This certainly isn't the right vacuum for cleaning while the kids are asleep!
Even with these drawbacks in mind, the Bosch Athlet Ultimate BCH732KTGB is an outstanding cordless vacuum - as long as you value cleaning performance over usability. It's heavy, loud and difficult to convert into its portable mode, but is arguably the best cordless when it comes to cleaning carpets and hard floors.
Best Cordless for Hard Floors
Gtech AirRam Mk2
The AirRam Mk2 doesn't have a handheld mode, so it's not as versatile as other cordless vacuums. It does a great job on almost any floor though - and is particularly efficient on hard floors and floorboards. This is due to its strong suction power and excellent floor head.
Note: While the Gtech AirRam Mk2 is our top pick for hard floors, the V8 Absolute and Bosch Ultimate are just as effective on these surfaces and far more versatile. The AirRam is worth considering if you only need a vacuum for floors though.
The original Gtech AirRam was one of the most innovative vacuums in the UK. The Mk2 (as you've probably seen on TV) is Gtech's attempt to keep up with Dyson and other brands, while staying true to what made the AirRam great in the first place.
Has Gtech succeeded though?
The Mk2 is certainly an upgrade. It has a redesigned dirt system that's easy to empty without making a mess. Like the original, dirt is compressed into the vacuum head (rather than a separate canister), but it can be removed using a sliding feature so you don't get your hands dirty. The new AirRam is also built with the company's AirLOC technology, which allows it to pick-up larger debris along with fine dust.
The AirRam Mk2 retains many of the features that made the original such a popular vacuum. It has a universal floor head, so you can move between carpets and hard floors without changing heads or settings. The vacuum head also has a low profile design, plus it's great at cleaning edges.
As we mentioned earlier, the AirRam Mk2 excels at cleaning both carpets and hard floors. It's not as effective at whisking up pet hair as the V8 Absolute or Athlet Ultimate, but for dust, dirt and fluff it does a great job.
Like the original AirRam, it's also easy to manoeuvre. You don't feel you're fighting to move it across carpets.
Who should buy it though?
When it comes to cleaning floors, the AirRam can hold its own against most cordless vacuums - as long as you don't have pets. The lack of a handheld mode or even a hose means it's much less versatile though. You can't use it for upholstery, cars or higher areas of the home, as it's purely a floor vacuum.
To summarise, the AirRam Mk2 is worth considering if you can't afford the V8 Absolute or Bosch Ultimate, only need to vacuum floors and don't have pets. It's one of the cheapest cordless vacuums on this list yet still does a great job at its primary purpose: cleaning floors. If you want a more versatile choice for a similar price, check out the V6 Cord-Free below.
Note: Not sure whether to buy the Gtech or Dyson? Check out our in-depth Gtech AirRam Vs Dyson V6 comparison.
Best Value Cordless Vacuum
Dyson V6 Cord-Free
If you want a powerful cordless vacuum but the V8 is outside your budget, the V6 Cord-Free is an excellent alternative. This vacuum provides outstanding cleaning performance for a great price - and it can make quick work of almost any task. It has shorter battery life and fewer extras though.
The V8 range is Dyson's flagship series, but don't overlook the V6 - especially if you're on a tight budget.
The V6 is a powerful vacuum cleaner that provides excellent cleaning performance. It has a shorter run-time than the V8 series - 20-minutes compared to 40 - but actually provides the same suction power on standard mode. The V6 also has many of the same features, including the detachable handheld mode, washable filter and a relatively fast charge time.
There's been continuous confusion about the various V6 models since it was released though - and it appears Dyson has finally listened.
In an attempt to simplify the V6 range, Dyson has combined the various models (Flexi, Animal, Absolute, Total Clean, Fluffy, Standard and so on) into two options: Cord-Free and Total Clean.
While the V6 Total Clean includes several attachments, such as a mini motorised tool and soft roller cleaner head, the Cord-Free is the best option if you're on a tight budget. The carbon-fibre motorised tool still provides plenty of brush bar power for cleaning carpets. It also includes a docking station and combination tool.
The biggest drawback to the V6 series is the short run-time. On its normal mode it can last up to 20-minutes, but this drops to around 6-minutes when on "MAX." The "MAX" mode is also slightly less powerful than the V8 and the V6 doesn't include the new hygienic emptying system.
There are a few other drawbacks. Like all Dyson cordless vacuums, the V6 doesn't stand up on its own. There's a docking station for charging and storing, but when you want to put it down you'll need to lean it against something. It also doesn't come with the soft roller for hard floors - for that you'll need to buy the V6 Total Clean.
Even so, for quick cleans the V6 Cord-Free provides outstanding value for money. It has enough power to remove fluff from carpets and pull dust from between floorboards, while being easy to use and lightweight. It also does a decent job on pet hair, which is an area the similarly priced AirRam Mk2 struggles.
Best Cordless for Thick Carpets
Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1
If you're looking for a powerful vacuum that can really dig into carpets, the Vax Blade Pro is one to consider. It doesn't provide the all-round performance of the V8 Absolute. But it easily matches the top vacuums for deep carpet cleaning, mainly due to its 32V battery and strong suction power, while also being a lot cheaper.
In many ways, the Vax Blade Pro has a similar design to the Dyson series. It's a cordless stick vacuum cleaner with a detachable handheld, so it's great for cleaning floors, upholstery, cars and higher areas. It weighs just over 3kg, which is relatively lightweight.
It's also a powerful vacuum. The 32V battery provides plenty of suction, while the Helix technology optimises airflow to make the vac more efficient. It only comes with a single floorhead, but this does a good job on carpets and carpeted stairs. It's particularly effective at removing dirt and dust that's trapped in carpet fibres - and it can also handle pet hair.
There are several big differences between the Vax and the Dyson V8 though. The first is the price: the Vax TBT3V1P1 is considerably cheaper than the V8 Absolute.
Another difference is run-time. The Vax has a maximum battery life of 45 minutes, which is 5-minutes longer than the Dyson V8 and 25-minutes longer than the Dyson V6. Switch it to boost mode, however, and the Vax runs for an impressive 20 minutes before needing to be recharged.
Aside from its impressive performance on carpet, the TBT3V1P1 has a number of accessibility features. The handle is designed to be comfortable and ergonomic, so you can use it for extended periods without getting uncomfortable. There's also a battery level indicator and a relatively large 0.6 litre capacity.
Note: The video above is of the standard Vax Blade cordless, but it gives an idea of how the vacuum performs.
Considering it can almost match the V8 for carpet cleaning and is much cheaper, you might be wondering why it's not #1 on this list. This is a valid question, but there are several reasons for its lower ranking.
Firstly, the filter on the TBT3V1P1 is much less effective than competing vacuums. This makes it less suitable for allergy sufferers and anyone who wants to keep their home dust-free.
Secondly, the TBT3V1P1 isn't great on hard wood, tiles or laminate. It does an adequate job, but doesn't get close to cleaning efficiency the V8 Absolute - especially when using Dyson's soft roller floor head.
It's also slightly heavier and noisier than the V8. These are minor complaints, as it's far from the heaviest cordless on the market, but is something to keep in mind. Additionally, the bin emptying system is less convenient and hygienic.
To summarise, the Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1 is an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner for carpets. The handheld mode also makes it useful for stairs. If you mainly want to vacuum carpets and don't have many hard floors, the Vax is cheaper and has a longer battery life than the V8 Absolute. For all-round cleaning performance, however, the V8 is still the boss.
Want to learn more about why how the Vax compares to the Dyson? Check out our Vax Vs Dyson page for more information.
What About Pet Hair?
One of the most common problems with cordless vacuums is struggling with pet hair. There are some models that are great for untangling dog and cat hair from carpet fibres, but many cordless models simply don't have the power. If your pet sheds a lot, check out our page of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair.
Which Are the Top Brands?
Many brands now manufacture cordless vacuum cleaners, but there's only a few that we recommend. The top three are almost certainly Dyson, Bosch and Gtech, as they all produce a range of excellent rechargeable vacs. Vax, Hoover and Shark also have multiple models that are worth considering.
These are far from the only brands on the market though. Major electronic companies such as Samsung, Sharp, Russell Hobbs, Makita, Silvercrest, Holife, Goblin, Proscenic, and Panasonic also produce cordless vacuums. At the current time, we don't think these brands produce models that can rival the top cordless vacs though.
Where to Buy a Cordless Vac?
Many vacuum manufacturers sell models directly via their website. While it can be worth checking these sites, most of the time you'll get better deals at retailers and supermarkets such as Amazon, Argos, Currys, Lidl, Tesco, Robert Dyas, Sainsburys and others.
It's also worth keeping an eye out for deals or sale prices. You don't need to wait for Black Friday to find a sale!
Note: If you want to buy commercial or industrial cordless vacuums, you may need to try a more specialist store.
The cordless vacuum cleaner market can be a confusing place. With hundreds of models from many brands - often with indecipherable names like IF200UKT or BCH6PETGB - it's hard to pick a powerful and effective vacs from the rest.
Fortunately, there are several cordless vacuums that are streaks ahead of the rest. While the five models on this page aren't the only ones worth buying, we believe they provide the best performance and value for money.
Which should YOU buy though?
- If you want the top model and don't mind paying a premium, the Dyson V8 Absolute is an outstanding blend of convenience and suction power. The handheld mode is great for cars or stairs, while the floor tools allow you to tackle any surface (including carpets, hardwood and laminate) with excellent results. It's a brilliant all-round vacuum that can replace most corded models.
- For raw cleaning performance, the Bosch Athlet Ultimate BCH732KTGB is probably the top cordless vacuum. It's let down by an awkward portable mode, loud noise output and heavy design though, which is why it only made #2 on this list.
- If the Bosch or Dyson V8 Absolute are too expensive, the Dyson V6 Cord-Free provides a balance between price and performance. It's one of the most powerful cordless vacuums and is great for carpets, hard floor and pet hair. The V6 has a short 20-minute battery life though, so it's not the best choice for long cleaning sessions.
- If you need to clean hard floors but the Dyson and Bosch are outside of your budget, the Gtech AirRam Mk2 does a great job. It's powerful and easy to use - although the lack of a handheld mode makes it less versatile. The V6 Total Clean is another good option for both hard floors and carpets, although it's more expensive.
- For cleaning carpets without paying for a top-end cordless vacuum, the Vax Blade Pro TBT3V1P1 is great for digging deep into fibres and removing more dust and dirt. It struggles on hard floors though.
We hope this article has helped you decide on the best cordless vacuum cleaner for your needs. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch and we'll respond as soon as possible.